Pope Francis, Superstar: crowds to Vatican increase 300%

The Rome tourist industry be pleased. From the BBC: 

Pope Francis drew more than 6.6 million people to his audiences, Masses and other events in Vatican City during his first year in office, figures show.

The statistics cover the period from the Argentinean’s election in March to the end of 2013, the Vatican said.

His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, attracted just 2.3 million people for the whole of 2012.

Pope Francis, named Person of the Year by Time magazine, is the Roman Catholic Church’s first Latin American leader.

He is also the first Jesuit at the helm of the Church.

The Vatican said the new figures were based on the number of tickets issued for papal events, as well as on estimates of crowds attending his weekly appearances at St Peter’s Square.

The data was released a day after the pontiff gave his first New Year blessing, calling for the world to unite against violence as a “community of brothers”.

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